Returning to Work … After Staying at Home

Returning to Work ... After Staying at Home | Houston Moms Blog

Cover letters are as polished as they will be. Online applications are turned in. Hard copies of résumés are in the mail. After 7 years as a stay-at-home mom, it’s now the season {with fingers crossed and prayers offered and positive vibes released} to return to work. 


I’ll be teaching again soon. 

Besides the adjustments of getting three boys to their designated daytime locations, figuring out the working parent balance, and coming to grips with new sacrifices, there’s another level of anxiety: job performance anxiety. After all, I haven’t done this job for 7 years. While I’m confident that I’ll find both my working mom stride and my work mojo, I’m counting on the words I know in my heart and a few tips from my HMB working mommas to get me started, and I hope these encourage other moms re-entering the work force…

Remember Your Motivation

Maybe your motivation is monetary in nature to help support your family. Maybe it’s passion for the position. Maybe it’s just time for a change. Whatever drove you back to work, keep that vision. Remember that vision on day 1 and carry it in your heart for rough days. Some results will come right away {Hello, Mr. Paycheck!}, but others may take a while. Keep showing up. Cling to the words that inspire you; write them on a post-it note for your desk, or look for a printable to hang in your office. 

Surround Yourself

You’ll need encouragers. Identify those people before you step foot inside your office {or classroom} doors, and reach out to them on your journey. You’ll need an outlet. Whether it’s a monthly weekend brunch with girlfriends, a workout system that works for you, or a daily morning Starbucks treat, plan to have a place for deep breaths, laughter, tears, and letting it all be free for a bit. Know the people you can count on to help you do just that. 

You’ll need a mentor, someone to help you find your new balance. You can toss around ideas {those that revolve around your position, as well as those involving your work/home balance}. A mentor can encourage you when you are hoping everything will be perfect and it can’t be. You’ll need someone to help you figure out how to make things work for you and support you as you grow. 

Believe Your Employers 

The people that hired you saw value in you. Who you are and what you are skilled to do are special. Trust your value and let yourself shine. After all, your mom résumé shows that you are more than prepared. What you are doing while “not working” counts! Maybe you worked part-time; maybe you were in charge of a moms group or volunteered often at your children’s schools. 

And don’t doubt the power of “fake it ’til you make it!” Look the part, act the part, feel the part — you are the part! 

Anticipate/Envision Success {…and Failure}

Of course you can’t be prepared for everything, but know that you will have great days that make it all worth it. On the same note, you’ll have tough days that make you question everything. Where will you turn for both of those? Remember … you’ve been there before and have survived both success and failure! 

Keep in mind that done is better than perfect. Avoid getting stuck in the way you operated prior to kids due to the flexibility and freedom you had in your life. It’s the past. Just get it done to the best of your ability. It may not be “perfect” but an “imperfect” product {relative to the past} is better than one that you’ve got in waiting, unrevealed to the world because it isn’t ready yet. When you don’t have anything to show, people won’t know that you still got it.


Learn from other working moms.

Invest in creating routines, lists, guides, etc that will help your transition. If home is running like the {mostly} well-oiled machine as it did when you were a stay-at-home mom, work will be easier as well. Life now gets split. You know that. You may not know exactly what that looks like, but set flexible boundaries that tell where, when, and how you will give of yourself to the various people and engagements depending on you. 

Time-boxing is a key tactic to getting stuff done. Only allow yourself a set amount of time for each of these phases of execution: thinking, planning, doing. Once you hit the limit, it is what it is and you just go. 

You’ve juggled your children and grocery shopping {and children while grocery shopping!}. You’ve got this, Momma. Going back to work won’t be an easy dance, but it’s one that you’ll master — freestyle! 

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Jenn L
Jenn is an English teacher turned stay at home mom to boys Wyatt {2010}, John {2013}, and Abram {2014}. South Louisiana born and raised, North Louisiana educated, and Texas “polished,” she has found Houston to be home with her husband for the past ten years. After infertility struggles, in 2010 she traded in A Tale of Two Cities for Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and has since been busy discovering ways to learn while playing, maintaining a semi-scheduled family life, and integrating both Texas and Louisiana culture into her family. Besides making memories with her boys full time, she enjoys reading, running, crafting, cooking, and football. Y’all stop by When In Doubt, Add More Salt to read more about family adventures with the boys and Jenn’s thoughts on hot summers and Pinterest pin attempts, and her love/hate relationship with March Madness brackets.


  1. Love this! It’s a GREAT reminder that going back to work isn’t any harder than being a SAHM, and we will make it even though it may not feel or “look” like it! I’m starting in 2 weeks! It’s been only 1 year (and that’s def much shorter than 7 years), but feels like a lifetime!

  2. We moved to TX from CA after having a baby because I wanted to be a SAHM. My kids are starting school soon, and I wanted to get back into the workforce part-time to help financially. I’ve applied to many places online using my current resume, having the last paid position being in 2014. I continue to get the “turn down” notifications, because “we have made our decision to move forward with another more qualified candidate”.
    I worked in the administrative assistant world before kids, but I have been applying to retail sales positions having had experience before entering the “professional world”. Any suggestions, or thoughts, to finding part time opportunities in the administrative world? I hate the fact that I make the efforts to get a job and everything thus far has come back with a decline. Help!!


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